Notes from the 2015 Medicare Supplement Sales Summit

Last week I had the privilege of attending the 2015 Medicare Supplement Sales Summit, which was hosted by the American Association for Medicare Supplement Insurance. The information that I gathered left me feeling very good about our immediate future, and while there are no guarantees, the forecast for the long haul looks very positive.

Age 65 and up

We hear all the time that there are "10,000 people turning 65 everyday in America". That is true but some of the other numbers I found to be encouraging were that in 1990 there were 30 million people 65 and older. In 2010 the number rose to 40 million and by the year 2020 we will be at 60 million. That is amazing!

We are seeing the lowest rate increases in premiums since Medicare Supplements began in 1966. Ten years ago the average rate increase was in the 10% range per year. In 2014 the average rate increase was 4.3% and as of April the rate increase rate would be 2.2%. That is very good news for the consumer. Plan G is growing in popularity, but it has a long way to go to catch up with the F plan.

The make up of total sales looks roughly like this:

Plans in 2015

Plan F is the king for now, but changes are coming. A "sustainable growth rate" (SGR) bill was just passed, affecting physician payments, and rewarding them more for quality of care than for quantity of procedures. Referred to as the "Doc Fix", it would give doctors a 0.5 percent increase in each of the next five years.

Some Medigap plans on the market today provide first-dollar coverage for beneficiaries – which means the plan pays the deductibles and co-payments so that the beneficiary has no out-of-pocket costs. Beginning in 2020 new plans sold would limit coverage to costs above the amount of the Part B deductible (currently $147 a year).

The plans that we sell today will be grandfathered in, but after 2020 we will not be able to sell Plans C or F as we know them today. Experts in the field say this is a major win, and there was talk about much higher deductibles being considered. You might wonder what the heck they are doing, but the government is trying to slow down Medicare spending. They are convinced that people with no deductibles are more likely to go to the doctor, which causes Medicare to pay more claims. I think that is hogwash, but I think we can all agree a Part B deductible is not a big deal either.

There are several things I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks, but for now I just wanted to pass along that we are in great shape and that the future has never looked better.

Thanks for your business and we appreciate you and all your efforts very much!

What are your thoughts on the Medicare changes? Please share below.

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